Food on board is very important – divers need nothing complicated, just good, tasty, easily digestible, fresh food after every dive. Not really much of a challenge then to a chef on a small boat miles out to sea with no chance of re-provisioning once it has left port for the week. A typical day’s menu is:
wake-up: tea, coffee, water, juice., biscuits
breakfast (after the first dive): often freshly cooked omelette (vegetarian and non vegetarian), toast, yogurt, cheeses (at least three sorts), fruit, fruit salad, pancakes
lunch (after the second dive): grilled fish, potatoes, rice, mixed bean salad, humus, stuffed aubergines, chicken, tomatoes, beans on artichokes (for the vegetarians), grapes
tea (after the third dive): pastries, biscuits, fruit, sometimes fresh sponge cake
dinner (after the fourth dive): Chicken, shepherds pie with cheese, cheese somosa, salad, lentils, baklava
Self-service tea, coffee, water, canned soft drinks and fruit juice are available all day and whilst you can buy beer, as soon as you have one then you have had your last dive of the day.
It is surprising how enterprising and clever the cooks are and how attractively the dishes are presented. It is not Haute Cuisine but it is very acceptable and you are not going to loose weight.
All meals are eaten in the main lounge the other end of which (on the Grand Sea Serpent) also doubles up
as the dive briefing area and the inside air conditioned relaxation area.
On the final full diving day (for us the Tuesday of the week),
the chef produces a Turkey and all of the Egyptian version of “trimmings” which on the GSS comprised:
|Beetroot, apple and melon||Carrots and Rice|
|Lentils||Pasta and Peas|
|Red Cabbage, tomatoes and cucumber||Rice and Sultanas|
|A vegetable of unknown character||Beans and peppers|
five different fattening desserts.
When the boat is being loaded with its provisions in Port, one gets a feel for how much food and drink 24 divers and 11 crew get through in a week. 500 eggs
480 cans of beer
over 1000 cans of soft drink…… plus all of the usual food items. Every possible storage space on the boat is used including under every seat in the main cabin.
St John’s Gota Sogayar
The St John’s reef system is made up of numerous reefs, usually with more than one dive site and always with more than one name.
This is an almost sheer pinnacle rising close to the surface with caves and swim throughs on top of all of the attractions of a sheer reef face.
The plan is to circle much of the reef and explore the caves and swim throughs.
the top of the reef is covered with coral
and further down there is a lot of soft coral
This view looks back out of the cave entrance to other divers lining up to come in.
Many of the caves have holes in their roofs
and the view through some of the cave windows is simply superb as are the swim through images.
The angle of the sun is ideal for diving and makes some superb blue pictures
Coral profusion on the wall is a characteristic of the site
and there are unusual hard and soft corals everywhere
Around the top of the coral blocks are shoals of antheas
and mirror fish
amongst the larger fish are
Marble headed grouper
one of the few lion fish we see this trip
and the ubiquitous Moray Eel
Dive guides tend to enjoy small life more than large life and there is (to their great delight), a number of nudibranchs growing
on the coral and cave walls.
All in all, a lovely dive site.